Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Sunday, December 14, 2008
I have owned/driven only two vehicles since 1979.
When I began shopping for a new car last month ago, I remembered why.
It is a place of unique torment, becoming a car shopper. Even in these troubled economic times, most dealers will try to haggle every last dime out of the deal. Perhaps it's worse nowadays, since the dealerships are so hungry for customers.
Holy shock absorbers, what a nuisance! Under the current grim circumstances in the auto industry, you would think dealers would try not to be so annoying, but I suppose they can't help themselves.
Since I make the decision for this major purchase only once every fifteen years, I tend to do my research well in advance, figure my budget to the dollar, and know exactly what I'm looking for. However, nothing has changed for the better in the automotive sales world since my last purchase, in 1993. The straightforward communication of facts is meaningless to a salivating car sales rep.It was as though I was speaking an ancient dead language, and I'm the only person left in the world who understands it. I suppose that was fair, since salesmen quickly discovered that the words "for only one thousand more" were not computing with me.
Even though I explained that I have a blank check from my bank, "not to exceed" a certain amount, eager dealers tried to tack on extra charges. I also received "urgent" phone messages in my blackberry--on Saturday morning. Shame on me for being foolish enough to hand out my business cards, but it made sense to me that the dealers should be able to reach me during the workday. Saturday is not a workday for me, but apparently that fact is irrelevant to a car dealer intent on strapping me into one of his orphaned inventory.
Today, I made my decision and emerged from automotive purgatory into the serenity of new car ownership. Well, new to me, anyway; after driving a 1993 Saturn all these years, a 2005 "pre-owned" car sure feels new. I saw; I liked; I bought (after a test drive, of course). I'm going to collect my used car--excuse me, I mean my "pre-owned vehicle"--tomorrow.
After my experiences of the past month, I'm quite sure I'll be good to go for another fifteen years. I bought a Honda Civic with low mileage, so a decade-and-a-half should be no problemo.
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
Sunday, December 07, 2008
Last week, a Canadian critic reprimanded me for failing to understand that Muslims feel “vulnerable.” Au contraire, they project tremendous cultural confidence, as well they might: They’re the world’s fastest-growing population. A prominent British Muslim announced the other day that, when the United Kingdom becomes a Muslim state, non-Muslims will be required to wear insignia identifying them as infidels. If he’s feeling “vulnerable,” he’s doing a terrific job of covering it up.~ Mark Steyn
Face facts, dinosaur media types. Militant Muslims are the bad guys. The problem is not President Bush, or American foreign policy, or the big bad United States. The problem is evil, as perpetrated by Muslim radicals. Extremist madmen (and women) in the Muslim community who want all Westerners dead--especially Jews and Americans, as evidenced by the horrific India attacks--are the problem.
It is positively psychotic for any member of the MSM to act like the Bombay terrorist attacks were America's fault. Today, Pearl Harbor Day, is a good time to examine how the bombings and murders are being portrayed. Can you imagine a newspaper in December 1941 reporting that the Japanese were feeling "vulnerable"? That the "vast majority" of them were "moderate"?
No? Well, neither can I. That's because it makes zero sense. And no one in the media at that time was stupid enough to present anything but the facts. Let's toast the good old days of journalism, long gone and sorely missed.
I wrote in my book, America Alone, that “reforming” Islam is something only Muslims can do. But they show very little sign of being interested in doing it, and the rest of us are inclined to accept that. Spread a rumor that a Koran got flushed down the can at Gitmo, and there’ll be rioting throughout the Muslim world. Publish some dull cartoons in a minor Danish newspaper, and there’ll be protests around the planet. But slaughter the young pregnant wife of a rabbi in Bombay in the name of Allah, and that’s just business as usual. And, if it is somehow “understandable” that for the first time in history it’s no longer safe for a Jew to live in India, then we are greasing the skids for a very slippery slope. Muslims, the AP headline informs us, “worry about image.” Not enough.
The West worries too much about calling evil what it is, when it happens. We do so at the peril of our existence. I wonder if, at this point, we have time enough left to figure that out for ourselves.
Thursday, December 04, 2008
However, there is only one blood-spitting, fist-splitting Jack Bauer!
At the end of the Yahoo face-off, the question is posed: "Which operative would you rather have saving your life?" My answer is, of course, the one I contorted myself into an office chair to watch for almost an hour and a half.
Bauer. Jack Bauer.